Reading and Writing

I just finished reading the first of four books that I got for Christmas. I took the first book with me on a trip that ruined into a detour to my childhood home because my father, who still lives there, had had a stroke.  I didn’t end up cracking the book open until my flight back home a month later.  I looked forward to getting back to some normalcy, to writing again, marketing my book more.  But when I got back, I found that I had a hard time focusing on my “career”.  I sometimes wonder how I ever held down a full time office job when there’s always so much to do at home.  Rather than grabbing my computer first thing, I thought it was more important to address some issues with the house.  I donned my work clothes and spent day after day outside or on a ladder, doing home repairs.  The couple of days I told myself it would take to finish up a couple of tasks, turned into weeks.
When I couldn’t shut the voice up in my head that screams at me to write, I sat down with my computer and started the drilling and research for ways to market my book.  It took a few days but I was able to get my book requests out to several agencies.  I’d been given a direction to pursue by a friend who suggested I seek out psychological organizations to recommend my book for professionals or to have them review it for inclusion to their magazines.  I felt good after tracking them all down and submitting queries to them.  Feeling like I then had the justification to put my computer down, I did so and went back to work on the house.
A week later, I received an email from a local book store that they wanted to carry my book.  I was so excited that I put my work clothes aside and took a stack of books to the store to drop off.  When I grabbed my work clothes again the very next day, I questioned whether I was avoiding writing.  I looked back to when I stopped writing and thought about my dad in the hospital.  The entire time I was there with him, I wanted to write, to document it all, not just to have the event chronicled but because I was going through so many different feelings and reactions, that I wanted to vent.  With a small computer given to me on loan, I wrote a blog entry just to get myself going and once finished, I started on the events of my father’s stroke.  It was still sitting and waiting on me to finish.  There it was.  I didn’t want to finish it.  I didn’t want to go back to it and have to fill in the remaining few days that I was with him before returning home.  So, I did the next best thing.  I picked my book back up.  I’d gotten about half way through it on the plane ride back home so I didn’t have that far to go to finish it.
I’ve found that the more I write, the more I look at other people’s writing differently.  I notice things more.  There’s little things like font and layout and then bigger things like character introduction, grammar and punctuation, scenery descriptions and layout.  I find myself pausing at times and thinking about the author, which, I’ve actually always done but I tend to do it a bit more often now.  It becomes more of a relationship between author and reader as if they’re sharing something with me. I love that connection, imaginary as it may be.  I ended up finishing the first book in between doing house chores and repairs and decided it was time to get back to my writing.  I finished the story of my father’s stroke and opened up my latest book to continue it.
I found an old friend on Facebook, made a couple of random Tweets on twitter only because it’s required in order not to lose followers.  I checked my reviews – one new one.  I checked my sales channels.  I wrote some restaurant reviews.  I researched a few home improvement items I want.  I read a few articles about people that I went to school with.  So many young people dying.  We are still young.  I called it a day.  I didn’t want to write about my life, the life that was continuing on when so many don’t.  The following day, I wrote a few paragraphs, researched a few contests and wrote a bit more.  I think I’m getting back on track to writing.  And I’m excited about cracking open a new book.
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50K Words In A Month

So, I finished the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  I didn’t write every day and in fact, went on a four day vacation and never wrote on weekends except the final day.  I’m not bragging.  I made the commitment without even realizing what the contest was to be honest.  But it ended up being like Weight Watchers.  There’s something about getting on that scale in front of another person.  I made the commitment and so it ate at me.  I thought for sure I wasn’t going to finish many times but I didn’t let the feeling get me down.  I would wake up thinking about it.  The final day, I wrote just about 8,000 words.  I was so excited.  It brought me to the finish.  I wondered if that was like a professional writer’s word count.  Whatever it was, I sat and wrote until I finished.  Really proud.

My first book was over 180,000 words so this one is a good start to another book but I think I want to take a break from it.  It’s hard because I feel dedicated to it now and stopping in the middle of a story is annoying.  I have more to say.  It’s like pausing a movie and going to the bathroom.  Upon returning, the movie doesn’t get turned off, it’s continued.  But I feel like there’s no need to continue with my life story in the form of a novel if I can’t get the first one sold.  So, I think I’m going to stop and try and do some short stories.  That’s my plan today anyway.

How many things can you start in a day? Or not?

I had plans to get my chores done today and then start the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November).  As I’d done with my previous novel, I was excited to get into it, and to get off of my ass for a bit.  I’d gotten into the habit of walking on the treadmill while writing, averaging about 4 miles on a good writing day.  So, when I got home from doing my chores, I figured I should have lunch first.  That’s where it all went downhill.  I think the sofa and my butt have something going on.  As soon as I sit, I’m done for.  I try and tell myself that today will be different but it never is.

After lunch, I grabbed the computer and went to town…on everything but my writing.  Cleaned out my inbox from crap that I’d saved from over the weekend.  Wrote a blog post on my ingenious new pumpkin recipe.  Posted to Twitter which made me want to cruise Twitter for awhile.  It made me think that maybe I should just not start NaNoWriMo today and I should go for a bicycle ride to get some exercise.  Maybe I should just go to the treadmill and start writing.

There’s always yard work to do.  I got up because I heard the Rice Krispy Treats calling me.  I read through the note sent to me from NaNoWriMo that mentioned having a snack – like a Rice Krispy Treat.  Damn them!  I traded my neighbor for the treats over Halloween.  I have two left in the pantry.  I can hear them rustling.

Then I remembered I needed to get the guacamole made for dinner.  Taco Salad Monday.  I know, it doesn’t go together very well but it’s what we do on Monday so we have some sort of football food, that’s not too horrible, to counterbalance the weekend gorge-fest that we usually have.  While I was there, I decided to separate and freeze the multi-pack of boneless, skinless chicken breast I bought.

I thought what a great way to get started writing then to write a blog post.  Here I sit.  On the couch.  I wonder if it’s too late to get started writing.

Is it real?

I’ve been so good about writing – not so much on this blog – but writing none-the-less.  If I have an idea, I jot it down.  If I have an intro, I start it.  I’ve been entering contests galore which is where the majority of my stories have gone.  It’s kind of fun to enter them.  Some have themes and others just have word limits and no other restrictions.  That makes it harder actually, especially when the contests are for fiction.  I think of bizarro things to write about and form them into a story.  Sometimes I can’t come up with anything.  Everything is so real to me that I figure I can’t classify it as fiction but then I see the examples of others and the majority of them seem like non-fiction to me.  That makes me question if what they’re writing about is real or not.  How can writing about real things be classified as fiction?  It’s like that’s not fair.  It just bugs me.  I try and think of something real that’s not or a way to make it fake but just end up going back to real things.  Frustrating.